Last night in Melbourne, Christopher Watkin’s new book, Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense, was launched. There will be further launch events in Sydney, UK and the USA over the coming days.
The room at RTC (Reformed Theological College) was filled with many uni students, academics, pastors in attendance, and many others from various works of life. The food, wine, and conversations kept flowing late into the night (in the end I had to ask people to go home!). Each one of the 4 speeches last night was impressive and interesting, reflecting on the content of Chris’ writing (of course!) and the value this book may bring to the world of thought, university, church, and society.
The only downside of the evening was that we couldn’t get our hands on enough copies of the book. The first print was sold out even prior to its formal release date. People took a number and we swirled those little pieces of paper in a large bowl and then picked out numbers. 12 very excited persons (think of the atmosphere for a winning auction bid), then purchased a signed copy of Biblical Critical Theory.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. As a reviewer recently said of Biblical Critical Theory, all the hype really isn’t exaggerated, and each of the addresses last night, given by Dr Sarah Irving-Stonebroker, Mr Barney Zwartz, and Dr Andrew Moody, testified to this. I am hoping that these talks may become available on The Gospel Coalition Australia website in days to come.
Allow me to share what I said at the beginning of the evening and the prayer in which I closed the event.
“Good evening and welcome. On behalf of The Gospel Coalition Australia, it is wonderful to see you all this evening for this special event.
My name is Murray Campbell. I serve on the National Council and State committee for The Gospel Coalition and I serve as the Senior Pastor at Mentone Baptist church. It is a joy to call Chris a friend and brother. I’ve had the privilege to know Chris and Ali for the past 9 years and have followed his work and writing with great eagerness and interest and benefit.
We are here to launch Christopher Watkin’s new book, Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense
The author of the monumental work the City of God, Augustine, lived during the turbulent times of the Roman Empire crumbling.
Augustine wasn’t from the City of Rome, although he would visit during the course of his life. He was born in the small provincial North African town of Thagaste. He would later live in Carthage. Yet, Augustine’s influence reached Rome and throughout the Empire, and indeed even throughout the world today.
Perhaps Yorkshire is a bit like Thagaste, and Melbourne is a modern-day Carthage.
Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense offers readers a comprehensive view of the world through the lens of the Bible.
Chris’ writing is clear, irenic, and profound. Chris understands the complexity of both the Bible and our culture. The work is deeply biblical and culturally masterful.
Time will tell how important this work will become, but I suggest that this is a significant body of thought that we will do well to read slowly and carefully and consider with seriousness.
Tonight we have 3 guest speakers with us who are each going to give a short address speaking to the book.
Dr Sarah Irving Stonebraker is a Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Western Sydney.
Barney Zwartz is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity and was the Religions Editor at the The Age for many years
Dr Andrew Moody is a Melbourne-based theologian and Editorial Director for The Gospel Coalition Australia.
I’d like to invite Dr Christopher Watkin forward and hand over to him.”
“Our Father in heaven, we thank you for the mind and understanding you have given Chris. We thank you for this book written to help us understand your world and life in it. We pray that you will use Chris’ writing to give people confidence in the Bible, to see that it is a fountain of knowledge and wisdom and goodness, and a lens through which we can understand the world.
May it be read widely and deeply and be part of that chain of Christian thought that echoes through the generations, to point people to your Son.
We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen